How to research and apply to colleges with ease

You have access to more information than ever before. You literally have a computer in your pocket. Your phone. And within seconds you can look up colleges, majors, SAT/ACT averages, read through blogs, gather tips, tour a college, call an admissions office, apply for scholarships, get tips on the application itself and, well, pretty much everything else. If that last sentence sounded like a run-on AND it kind of stressed you out, then I made my point.

You are blessed to able to research at a capacity that opens a window into the world beyond your home. You have the tools to envision yourself in a college you may never visit before applying. And while all of that is really wonderful, it can also be as easily detrimental. Why? Because it becomes overwhelming. Why? Because you can get yourself into a hole of open tabs and forget what you began searching for in the first place. Why? Because there are a world of “experts” guiding you through the college admission process, that might not have the best knowledge.

My advice? Make it smaller. Make everything smaller.

Choose a FEW reputable websites and one reputable college guide book. Yes, a book, you know that thing you don’t have to charge battery power or connect to the internet to access? Check out the Fiske Guide! ALWAYS also use the college’s website directly. And CALL an admissions office if you want clarification.

Write down your findings in one space. Create a section for academic profiles, deadlines, why you like it, what’s required, etc. and write it all down.

Talk about your findings with a counselor or professional you trust and get help in next steps and larger conversations.

Know when you’re phishing for an answer, versus genuinely researching. You know when you feel sick or that something is wrong and you Google it? And all roads lead to disaster? Searching online is kind of like that. If you want to find the one blog and one person that will give you the magic advice, you probably will…but is that the CORRECT or BEST advice? Hmmmm…maybe not.

Take the time to work smarter not harder. Spend less brain power mindlessly searching and more energy into finding a college that is the perfect fit. Leaving you confident in knowing not only how to apply and by when, but also that you have a future home to be excited about. Happy hunting!

Want resources on how to search for colleges?

Check out HERE. Or HERE.

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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